September 29, 2022

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GGGI Rwanda building partnership with local initiatives to involve more youth in solving Plastic Waste Challenge

GGGI Rwanda seeks to involve more youth in solving Plastic Waste Challenge

BY: Ange de la Victoire Dusabemungu

While the world continues to be threatened by the problem of non-biodegradable waste being thrown around and contributing to the destruction of the environment, ecosystems and causing the effects of climate change, GGGI (Global Green Growth Institute-Rwanda) continues to put effort into helping Rwanda find solutions to different environmental issues with a focus on community outreach and practical actions that provide long-term solutions.

On Friday, August 29, 2022, the management of GGGI Rwanda visited the Environment Club at Groupe Scolaire Gatenga in Kicukiro District in Kigali city to discuss plastic waste issues with the students who are part of the environmental protection club in that school.

The visit also saw the launch of waste management project to be implemented by Eco-Arts Initiative targeting school children around Kigali city.

Through this project GGGI will be supporting Eco-Arts Initiative to train environment clubs in the city of Kigali on waste management, to improve its use and to encourage young people to create innovations aimed at reusing them while at the same time valorising waste into reusable products.

Speaking to TOP AFRICA NEWS, Michelle DeFreese, the senior officer at the Global Green Growth Institute-Rwanda explained that the youth-led initiative aimed at encouraging students to learn about the issue of plastic waste, and ways that they can address plastic waste, reduce the amount of plastic that they use, and also to encourage them to look at ways they can use innovation in science and technology to solve some of the urgent climate problems, and also environmental issues that are faced not only by city of Kigali but also by cities all over the world.

Michelle DeFreese, the senior officer at the Global Green Growth Institute-Rwanda speaking to young people at GS Gatenga

“So, we have our team here, that includes people from different countries, to speak with the students about how plastic waste is a global challenge, and how we can address that challenge in our communities.” Defreese said.

The funding and promoting these youth initiatives is part of the big project entitled: “Waste Resources: Improving municipal solid waste and hazardous waste management in Rwanda.”

The 3 years project which is funded by the Government of Luxemburg, Ms. Defreese said “it has has three components which include to introduce interventions in Nduba landfill where GGGI Rwanda project will provide equipment, such as a Weighbridge to accurately weigh the waste entering Nduba landfill and also a sorting and separation demonstration facility.

“This equipment will allow us to separate recyclables that are coming into Nduba landfill and encourage their valorisation.” She said,

She noted that the second component is on E-waste to support the government of Rwanda to track and collect electronic waste while the last component is on public awareness and engagement and focuses on behavioural change communication.

“So, that component is one of the reasons we came to the school to do outreach. The entire project focuses on plastic, organic, and E-waste and today is one of the last days of plastic free July. It’s a global campaign to reduce the use of plastic, and to address the concern and the challenge of plastic waste.” Defreese explained.

Mr. Murangwa Jean Baptist, the Eco-Arts Initiative Programme Manager said that “the reason why the youth led outreach campaign focuses on children is to make sure that they start knowing that plastic waste is bad for their health and how they can handle the wastes to live a sustainable life.”

Mr. Murangwa Jean Baptist, the Eco-Arts Initiative Programme Manager

He added that once the children have enough knowledge on plastic waste impacts, they will deal with them.

“As their intelligence increases, as they learn, as projects are coming, they will focus on plastics and learn how to store them in designated places, and to fight against illegal entrance of plastic materials into the country.” He said.

“In Kinyarwanda there is a proverb that says that a tree is straightened when it is still young. If you want the country to develop, you prepare children at a young age and start teaching them good values that will lead them to that goal in real time.” Murangwa added

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